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American ObscurantismHistory and the Visual in U.S. Literature and Film$
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Peter Lurie

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199797318.001.0001

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Queer Historiography in The Bridge

Queer Historiography in The Bridge

Chapter:
(p.121) 4 Queer Historiography in The Bridge
Source:
American Obscurantism
Author(s):

Peter Lurie

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199797318.003.0005

This chapter culminates my earlier discussion of several works’ regretful looks back on U.S. history with Hart Crane’s plaintive lament over the country’s signal historical events, tempered by his hopefulness for the republic’s future. It uses sexuality theory to argue against a teleological, progressive sequencing—both in my study’s rhetorical structure and in ways of tracing history’s unfolding. It suggests the importance of textual erotics of painful empathy in the reader’s encounter with an indigenous past in its early sections, before turning to in The Bridge’s critique of U.S. aerial history and maritime trade. The poem’s account of displaced historical subjects encompasses this alterity in the figure of its peripatetic speaker across its several sections and historical eras. The chapter ends with a coda about Crane’s suicide as a response to his New Critical peers’ rejection of his nonironic, non-Eliotonian vision and of what they saw as his “undisciplined” style and sexuality.

Keywords:   New Criticism, historicism, epic, Native American, recursion, cinema, poetics, love/eros, queerness, temporality

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